Significantly, artists often pictured such events in and following Francis's life as occurring before the arcuated ciborium of an altar (or, less frequently, with a domed construction present), recalling how one such structure can function in multiple ways, and reminding viewers that acts of curing the sick along with other works of mercy had, after all, biblical sanction, taking on almost sacramental character.
But the single bay of the Misericordia loggia, inescapably reminiscent on purely formal grounds of the first three types of arcuated structures surveyed here that were so deeply ingrained in the late-medieval mind, also functioned as a place of public distinction for the company and as a sacred space wherein the distribution of foundlings and orphans truly became God's work.
Part one addressed the Misericordia loggia proper and arcuated structures marking tombs and altars; part two considers sheltered thrones and venues for humanitarian actions, as well as instances where an arched or domical construction served more than one of these functions.
When pictured on ancient coins usually as a single stone resting upon an altar (sometimes shaded by two curved parasols that reiterate the shape), the resulting form, baetyl on altar, is not unlike that of an arcuated Christian ciborium atop an altar.
The evidence furnished by numismatic imagery for the appearance of such early constructions and for interpretations of them, substantiated only to a degree and often indirectly by contemporaneous writers, is somewhat unsatisfying, and of course it provides no knowledge whatsoever of the surely even greater antiquity of arcuated altar canopies.
(56.) For additional references beyond those appearing in the notes that follow regarding both arcuated and trabeated altar ciboria, see Deer, Dynastic Porphyry Tombs, 32 n.